HR in the Field Blog

DIEB: Defining Equity at Work

Written by Amy Ryan

Today, I want to dive into a topic that's close to my heart: creating equity at work. As someone who's seen the impact of both inclusive and exclusive environments, I firmly believe that fostering diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging (DIEB) isn't just a trend – it's a necessity for any thriving organization.


So, how can we make our cooperatives more equitable? Let's break it down:




Acknowledge and Address Biases

We all have biases, whether we're aware of them or not. It's crucial for employers to acknowledge these biases and actively work to address them.


I remember a time when I witnessed a colleague being overlooked for a promotion because of assumptions about their capabilities based on their gender. It was a wake-up call for me to challenge those biases and advocate for fairness.


Implement Inclusive Policies and Practices

Equity isn't just about treating everyone the same; it's about recognizing and accommodating differences. Examples include:

  • Offer flexible work arrangements to accommodate diverse needs
  • Ensure that recruitment processes are bias-free (i.e. are you only hiring young people?)

Flexible schedules are not just for parents -- everyone has a life outside of work that they are trying to balance! I’ve seen peers transition into retirement; that winding-down is just as important as the new mom coming back to work.


Provide Training and Education

Knowledge is power and providing employees with training on topics like unconscious bias, microaggressions, and privilege can go a long way in fostering understanding and empathy.


I'll never forget the impact of a workshop I attended on invisible differences – it opened my eyes to perspectives I hadn't considered before and made me a better coworker as a result.


Empower Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

ERGs can be powerful agents of change within an organization, providing a platform for underrepresented voices to be heard and advocating for necessary changes. Providing ERGs is also a recruiting and retention tool, indicating that your cooperative is committed to making the workplace more inclusive for everyone.

Examples of ERGs that I’ve found valuable include:

  • Women’s Leadership – providing mentoring/opportunities for women to gain knowledge/skills
  • Diverse Cultures - bringing awareness to holidays celebrated by people throughout the cooperative, and mentoring through cultural norms
  • Young Professionals - accessing resources, mentoring, and sharing knowledge

Hold Leadership Accountable

Creating equity starts at the top. Leaders must not only champion DIEB initiatives but also hold themselves and others accountable for their actions.


When I saw a CEO publicly commit to diversity targets, and then follow through with concrete actions, it inspired confidence and trust in leadership’s commitment to equity.


Listen and Act on Feedback

Finally, creating equity requires a commitment to continuous improvement. Encourage open dialogue and feedback loops and be willing to act on what you hear.


It’s super deflating as an employee to provide requested feedback and never hear about it again.



In conclusion, creating equity at work isn't just the right thing to do – it's also essential for driving innovation, fostering creativity, and attracting and retaining top talent. We can build workplaces where everyone feels valued, respected, and able to bring their whole selves to work by:

  • Acknowledging biases
  • Implementing inclusive policies
  • Providing education
  • Empowering ERGs
  • Holding leadership accountable
  • Listening to feedback

Now, doesn’t that sound like the type of place where you’d be proud to work?


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